Rad Power Bikes RadCity Electric Bike Review Part 2: Ride & Range Test [VIDEO]
After many miles and hours of testing the Rad Power Bikes RadCity it has proven to be a comfortable and easy going cruiser style eBike with some kick!
Its low step-thru frame makes it easy to get on and off and the upright position with swept back handlebars gives it a very comfortable ride feel.
The 750 watt motor is smooth, quiet, and powerful and gives the bike a gliding feeling. Adding to that is impressive range from the range test.
The RadCity is a nice eCommuter and adventure weekender with its full assortment of accessories and it can carry substantial cargo with optional baskets and/or bags.
In this second part of the full review you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test results, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this electric bike.
Make sure you check out part 1 of this review with large pictures and specifications to get a detailed look at this e-bike.
What you can expect from the RadCity:
To get acquainted with the Rad Power Bikes RadCity, checkout this video:
Riding the RadCity:
Overall there are some characteristics of the Rad Power Bikes RadCity that really stand out when riding this eCommuter bike. To summarize they are:
- The easy get on and off step-thru frame design
- Smooth & quiet 750 watt direct drive motor with regenerative braking
- Impressive range with the high capacity (672 Wh) Samsung cells battery
The Look & Feel of the RadCity
The most noticeable characteristic of the RadCity is the low step-thru area frame that makes this eBike so approachable.
Its 20″ standover height makes it easy to lift your leg through the frame for easy get on and go riding. The same is true for getting off the bike.
Rad Power Bikes states that the RadCity Step-Thru will work for riders in height from 4’10” to 6’2″.
There is a lot of adjustability in the seat post height and the handlebar stem to help with dialing in your preferred riding position.
There is also a triangle frame RadCity model in these frame sizes:
16″ which fits riders in height from 5’4″ to 5’11”
19″ which fits riders in height from 5’11” – 6’6″
The RadCity Step-Thru frame is constructed of sculpted 6061 aluminum tubing to create the large step-thru area while adding reinforcing tubing and gussets to provide a strong frame.
A good example of the reinforcing gusset is at the headtube to downtube connection.
That gusset provides reinforcement for everyday riding and it also provides support for any of the optional front rack/basket/platform that you may want to add for cargo carrying.
Another example is the tubing connection from the downtube to seat tube which provide strength to the frame and some protection of the battery pack.
During the riding there was very minimal noticeable flex from the frame, even when cornering quickly from side to side.
Rad Power Bikes states that the RadCity can handle a total payload of 275 pounds (rider + cargo).
And speaking of cargo, the rear rack is part of the aluminum frame as it is welded to the seat stays.
The rear rack can handle up to 60 pounds of cargo that can be carried via bags (panniers), a basket, a large platform, or a kids seat.
The RadCity has a lot of cargo options with the front and rear racks which makes this a versatile eCommuter and possibly an eTouring bike.
Another frame highlight is the internal cable routing through the large downtube. This provides for some cable protection and a cleaner overall look.
Now let’s take a closer look at the ride position of the RadCity Step-Thru.
Following along the lines of an easy get on and go design, the ride position is comfortable and easy going.
First of all the handlebars are swept back to create a comfortable position for the wrists which also reduces the overall reach required.
This position is similar to what you will find on a cruiser style bike.
The faux leather ergonomic handlebar grips add to the comfortable and supportive feel as they also provide some wrist support.
With the adjustable stem there is a lot adjustments that can be made to dial in your riding position.
Adjusting the angle can go from a comfortable very upright and short reach position to a lower and longer reach position that is more of a performance style. And then there are all of the positions in between.
There are also spacers under the stem that can change position to move the stem/handlebar up or down on the fork steerer tube.
Smoothing the ride out on the front of the bike is the RST suspension fork that has 80mm (3.15″) of travel. This is a supple suspension fork that does a good job of taking the edge off of bumps and cracks in the road.
The spring rate of the fork can be adjusted with a dial on the left side of the fork to fit your weight and riding style.
There is also a lockout dial on the right side of the fork to create a more efficient ride on smoother roads. With the lockout on you can stand out of the saddle and pedal hard without the fork bobbing up and down.
On the back of the bike is the Velo Plush saddle that has a wider profile at the back with a center section relief for an all around comfortable ride.
There is a handle on the back of the saddle that is helpful for maneuvering the bike around or when lifting it.
The RadCity is comfortable for most roads but if you ride on rougher roads a suspension seatpost is a very nice addition for smoothing out the ride.
The tire selection on the RadCity are the 26″ x 2.3″ Kenda K-Rad tires that have an efficient road tread pattern with some light off-road capabilities.
They do provide solid traction on the road and they are ready for the gravel path when you want to do a little exploring.
There is a moderate amount of air volume in these tires to create a fairly comfortable ride.
They do a good job of absorbing average bumps and cracks in the road.
Now let’s take a closer look at the drive system performance!
The core of the pedal assist and/or throttle boost is the smooth, quiet, and powerful 750 watt Shengyi direct drive rear hub motor.
Since there are no gears in a direct drive motor it is one of the quieter motors when compared to a geared hub motor.
This Shengyi also has a very smooth feeling in the way that it adds assist. It is so smooth that it takes on an easy going ride feel that fits the RadCity well.
In fact it can be surprising how quickly you can get up to the higher speeds in the higher assist levels and/or throttle.
It also climbs moderate to steeper climbs while maintaining good speed.
This smooth and quiet ride is a big highlight of the RadCity and it makes it feel like it is just gliding along.
The RadCity is a Class 2 electric bike which is pedal assist and/or throttle up to 20 mph with assist and 750 watts max.
As the bike gets to the max assist speed of 20 mph there is a distinct feeling that going much above this is going to take some serious pedal power.
This is because most direct drive motors have some drag from their internal magnets when there is no assist and you can feel this once the assist stops at 20 mph.
In addition to providing assist the motor also does its part to slow the RadCity down with its regenerative braking.
When either brake lever is engaged, the motor turns into a generator that recaptures some of the bikes momentum to put some charge back into the battery.
Now let’s take a look at the pedal assist and throttle option.
The pedal assist is a cadence sensor system that provides assist when the cranks are turning and there are 5 different levels of assist.
Adjusting the pedal assist levels is done with the up and down arrows on the handlebar control pad.
Levels 1 and 2 and 3 give you a pretty easy going ride and they are nice for cruising rides around the neighborhood or when riding in crowded areas. At these levels the pedal assist blends in well when you start and stop pedaling.
Levels 4 and 5 are noticeably more powerful and they quickly get you up to speed. They offer a very sporty ride feel with a lot of acceleration and speed but that also comes with draining the battery quicker. In these levels of assist there is more of noticeable addition/reduction of the power as you start and stop pedaling.
In addition to or in lieu of the pedal assist is the twist grip throttle option.
In the lower pedal assist levels the throttle can be used to give you a boost of power. For instance this is nice for quickly getting through a busy intersection.
The throttle can be used on its own without your pedaling. This will drain the battery the quickest though!
There is a lot of variability in the throttle from just a little all the way to full power and it operates similar to the volume dial on a radio.
An on/off button is located just below the throttle so that you can limit its use and to prevent accidental activation.
Another highlight of the drive system is the high capacity 48V 14Ah (672Wh) lithium battery pack that uses Samsung 35E cells. The battery pack is rated for 800 charge cycles.
Its location in the center of the bike on the seat tube helps to balance the weight of the bike, although the RadCity is a somewhat back heavy with the direct drive rear hub motor.
The battery weighs 7.6 pounds and it can be charged to 100% in 5 to 6 hours.
Now let’s take a look at the display on the RadCity.
The large LCD display is located in the center of the handlebar and provides information on:
- Battery level
- Odometer & trip distance
- Current speed, average speed, max speed
- Pedal assist level. There are 5 levels of pedal assist. The RadCity uses a cadence sensor for the pedal assist system.
- Watts (power) that the motor is providing
The display has a backlight that is turned on when the headlight is on. Holding the up arrow and mode button on the control pad turns the headlight on & display backlight on.
It is interesting to watch how much power the motor is contributing to your riding on the display. You can see the power differences in the various pedal assist levels in addition to seeing how your pedal power affects it.
Braking on the RadCity is handled in 2 ways: with the regenerative braking and the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes.
The regenerative motor braking happens when the brake levers are just slightly engaged and this can be a way to scrub off a little speed on a long decent.
On the display you can see the watts being generated by the regen braking.
For the quick and full stops the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes provide the majority of the stopping power.
They use 180mm rotors on the front and back of the bike.
The Aries brakes provide solid stopping power that modulates well from just a little power to full stop.
The brake levers have a rubber grip surface on each brake lever that helps when riding in wet or dry conditions.
It would be nice to have the ability to adjust the brake lever reach for riders with smaller hands.
The RadCity is also well equipped to make the daily commute and weekend rides convenient with its well rounded accessory package.
As mentioned earlier, the front and rear racks can have cargo strapped directly to them or they can have a basket and/or bags added for additional cargo capacity.
The full coverage plastic fenders with mud flaps provide nice protection from riding on wet roads.
It is nice to have the 300 lumen LED headlight powered by the eBike battery so that you don’t have to worry about charging light batteries separately. The headlight has a wide and bright beam for seeing the road well at night.
The rear light is powered by separate AAA batteries but it would be nice to have that powered by the eBike battery as well. It has a solid and flashing mode for being seen in low light to dark conditions.
Rounding out the accessories is the kickstand that is bolted to the chainstay of the frame and its height is adjustable so that you can adjust the tilt of the bike. The kickstand does provide a solid footing for the RadCity.
Okay, let’s see how the RadCity did out on the open road!
Rad Power Bikes RadCity Range Test Results:
Here is the real world information on how the RadCity electric bike performed on a riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed. I tested the RadCity in the highest pedal assist level (Level 5) with average pedaling on paved roads.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the RadCity traveled 40.8 miles and did a total elevation gain of around 3,400 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled at an average pace this is very good range for an eCommuter bike with a 48 Volt 14 ah battery pack (672 Watt Hours) with a 750 watt motor assisting up to 20 mph.
Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.
Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weigh less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.
Speed: The RadCity will assist up to 20 mph with pedal assist and/or throttle.
Weight: The RadCity tips the scales at 64.5 lbs which is on the heavier side for an electric bike. Removing the 7.6 pound battery brings it down to around 56.9 pounds.
The weight distribution of the RadCity is somewhat back heavy because of the rear hub motor and rear rack structure while the battery is low and centered on the bike.
Easy Going Ride: The step-thru frame design makes it easy to get on an off the RadCity. Combining that with the upright and swept back handlebar position and comfortable seat makes the RadCity an easy riding eBike.
Smooth, Quiet & Powerful: The direct drive motor is very smooth and quiet which gives the RadCity a gliding feeling as it adds assist. At the higher assist levels and/or throttle the 750 watts of power can really get you going quickly! The regenerative braking helps to recapture some energy on longer descents.
Impressive Range: The RadCity went 40.8 miles in the tough range test (highest assist level) with elevation gain of 3,400+ ft of total climbing. You can expect to get even more range with more moderate riding conditions.
Price: The RadCity hits the sweet spot for components and price.
Heavier: At 64.5 pounds the RadCity is on the heavier side of electric bikes. Removing the battery helps a little for lifting the bike up but it still is 56.9 pounds.
Motor Drag: When the assist stops at 20 mph there is a pronounced feeling that pedaling to higher speeds will take some hard work. This is a typical feeling from many direct drive motors as they have some drag from their internal magnets when there is no assist and you can feel this once the assist stops at 20 mph.
Overall the Rad Power Bikes RadCity is a fun and easy going step-thru cruiser style bike that comes equipped with many of the accessories for the daily commute and weekend rides.
At up to 750 watts of power the RadCity can really move at the higher assist levels and it does so with a smooth and quiet gliding feeling. It also offers a lot of range (40+ miles) with the high capacity 48V 14ah battery pack.
The RadCity is a nice eCommuter and weekend adventure bike with its solid assortment of accessories. Adding baskets and/or bags can make the RadCity a very capable cargo hauling eBike.
The RadCity offers impressive value with free shipping (lower 48 states) and Rad Power Bikes offers monthly payment options as well.
Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.
Do you have any questions about the RadCity? Do you own a RadCity? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Review Note: Each company pays a fee for a review on Electric Bike Report because of the considerable amount of time that it takes to provide an in-depth review of each eBike. A lot of time is spent on the full range test with distance & elevation profile, the wide variety of detailed pictures, in-depth video, and the write up with the specifications, ride characteristics, pros, cons, and overall thoughts. The reviews on Electric Bike Report are focused on providing you with a detailed “virtual” look at each eBike to help you determine if it is the eBike for you.
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Jack Strollo says
My wife and I bought 2 Rad City bikes back in April. We live just outside of Philadelphia, Pa. We are completely impressed them! I ride mine to work daily and couldn’t be more pleased with the way it performs. We haven’t rode bikes since we were in our twenties. We are now in our late fifties and riding these bikes makes us feel like teenagers again. We go out for a leisure ride in the evening and 15 miles later, we are back. We don’t even realize how far we have ridden! Amazing. They are holding up to our wear and tear so far.
Bruce Gumenick says
I recently ly bought 2 of the Rad Power step thru bikes for my wife and me. We are in our mid 60’s and never dreamed we’d be back riding bikes at our age.
Both bikes are performing as advertised and we are averaging 20 miles per ride. The battery is usually down only 1 click when were done.
After over 100 miles of rides the bikes are holding up with no issues. We cant wait for the weekend to arrive for our next trip.
With all the accessories the bikes come with and the price its a great value for the money spent.
The step thru makes it very easy for us getting on and controlling the bike for people our age. I would recommend these bikes if your looking at joking the E bike revolution.
Roger Mathews says
I am looking for comments in regards to: “typical feeling from many direct drive motors as they have some drag from their internal magnets” How much does this effect the “effort” that a rider “puts out” when riding the RadCity. (compared to the Rad Rover) I will be ordering one, within a week, and am “on the fence”
Hi Roger, there is no additional effort when in the assist zone of 20mph or less. It is when riding over 20mph where there is generally more effort required with a direct drive motor compared to a geared hub motor.